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On love and loss and what remains

          I feel like I’ve been away for a long time, selfishly wrapped inside a cocoon of my own making, tending to stubborn injuries.
          I was in love, and then I wasn’t anymore, and the small bright world that held my life and which had become pale and silent had broken then, into crumbled misshapen pieces. Looking back on these past six months, I see now that I have essentially been in grief – not because I still wanted to be with him, he who had for so long made me dizzy with happiness, but because I no longer did: I grieved for what might have been, and for what was; for the lost feelings that had once felt like they could never be lost; for the cold, immutable fact that there are things in life that cannot and will not change, no matter how hard you work and no matter how much you want them to be different.
          That last one is particularly difficult to come to terms with because it applies to so many things in life, and because it requires nothing, but takes everything. And as it’s taking, it stands behind a wall of stone, quiet and still, unmoved by anger and untouched by despair. The word, indifference comes to mind, but it doesn’t feel like indifference exactly. It just feels true, and when everything is calm and clear, it almost feels gentle in how simple it is. Soothing, even. It is the cosmic equivalent of someone saying to you when you’re in pain, “That’s how life is sometimes, so learn to live with it,” which is as kind a thing to say as it is cruel. 
          There was a time when I had thought that I couldn’t live with it – when just the idea of it was almost unbearable to think about and to consider as a real possibility. But I had underestimated as well as overestimated, and I know now that a body can learn to live with almost anything, and that very few things are unbearable, if for no other reason but that people get used to what is. The clockwork rhythms of the day-to-day have a way of loosening the focus in our eyes so that sharp lines start to look blurry and bright spots begin to look dull; and often, when we finally realize that our visions had been distorted – that in fact, the sharp lines were sharp and not blurry, that the bright spots were bright and had never been dull – it no longer matters very much anymore to anyone, and life continues on, already having unconsciously adapted to what we had unconsciously let slip. Not with a bang, but a whimper, most of the tragedies we live with sleep unnoticed by our sides.
          But perhaps I am using the word inappropriately, because do we say it is “tragic” when we forget to love our parents, and when we waste the minutes of our comfortable, privileged days on things we don’t care about instead of living more meaningful lives, and when we say and do things that we don’t believe in, and when we daily rationalize our paradoxical behaviors and willfully ignore what it means when we do, and what it will mean for our futures? And maybe still, it should not be called tragic that we do all these things because there are still so many things that can and do change; because there is choice still; because there exist crystalline moments of revelation and clarity – even if they only stay for just a little while; because we learn, and are resilient and unpredictable; because we know regret.
          In the meantime, spring has begun to sweeten the crisp air of a winter that has been infinitely kinder than the last, and I have learned to accept the things in my life that cannot and will not change, no matter how hard I work and no matter how much I want them to be different. I have learned, because there is nothing else that can be done. And there’s peace in that.

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9 thoughts on “On love and loss and what remains

  1. Your writing elegantly summarizes the best part of love loss: acceptance. You can finally move on with your life and focus on the most important person – yourself! And you deserve true happiness, Helen, and I believe that it’s in the horizon.

    (I look forward to reading more entries.)

  2. Jun says:

    Oh Helen, it’s not indifference. It’s the moment of silence your mind requested for the growing pains. And don’t regret that you lost the May, since the greatest June is on her way.

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